Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Regimental Coat


The 18th-century soldier's coat was his pride and joy. The tactics of the period called for close-order, fighting elbow to elbow, so it had to be snug. It must not interfere with the handling of the firelock either, but it also had to be comfortable.

Usually, redcoats could expect a new garment issue every year, which they paid for through stoppages. Contractors supplied the regiment with coats in a number of sizes, loosely assembled. Soldiers who who were tailors in civilian life, were then exempt from duty to measure and fit the regiment.

After a year of sun, rain, snow, and wear--the previous year's coat would be shortened, turned inside out, stripped of tapes, and reassembled for fatigue duties. Soldier's wives who were on the regimental roles, were entitled to wear their husband's old coat.

The late 18th-century Royal Fusilier coat followed a standard pattern--madder red broadcloth for enlisted men, with Royal Blue facings. the pocket flaps were decorative, and the body was lined with white wool bay. The skirts could be turned and there are two epaulettes edged with lace.

The first step is to back-stitch the under lapel to the coat front, as close to the edge as possible. Leave 1/8" free to attach the collar at the top, and flip the fronts over. 
 Hemp canvas serves as interfacing, this need only be tacked in place on the inside. 
Pin the blue over lapel to within 1/8" of the under lapel outside edge. I'm using natural linen thread for construction stitching. This is what the top of the lapel looks like from the inside.

The last step, is to fold the blue cloth over the front coat edge and stitch it to the interfacing
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Next time, buttonholes get added to the lapels, and we look at the 7th Regiment of Foot's unique lace pattern.

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